This past summer we were invited to be a part of Eddie Bauer’s Why I Hike campaign. The six-month project brought together a team of photographers, athletes and influencers to develop personal stories on what drives them to hit the trail. Over the past couple years the main purpose of our backpacking trips has been to spend time in spectacular places as a family. This aspect, getting out as a family, was our contribution to the project. After several day-long outings to bag peaks around the western states, we wanted to get out on a bigger objective this past summer. An overnight adventure to climb Oregon’s South Sister provided a good opportunity for a family big mountain trip.
Part of the chain of volcanoes known as The Three Sisters, South Sister is the third highest peak in the state of Oregon with a summit elevation of 10,358 ft. We broke up our ascent by busting out 2.5 miles and about 1,200 feet of elevation gain to camp above scenic Moraine Lake on the first night. One of the easiest things to do to make backpacking with a toddler more enjoyable is…to…slow…down. The trek up South Sister can be done as a long day (very long day with a little one on your back), but we broke it up into a two night/three day outing. That allowed plenty of time to let Dusty hike on his own, take plenty of snack breaks and play with all the cool volcanic rocks along the way. Family trips are all about time spent together in the backcountry, watching our little guy discover these new environments.
Here’s our strategy for multi-day backpacking with our toddler: one of us carries Dusty and all his ‘gear’ in the kid carrier pack. The other carries nearly everything else. We’ve been happy with the capacity and load carrying capability of the Terrain 55 pack this summer. It hauls 50-pounds as comfortably as one can haul 50-pounds on your back.
Staring down a 4,000-foot ascent with 30-pounds of little boy on your back is a daunting prospect. How is he going to take to his kid carrier today? Did we pack enough snacks? Warm clothes? Will he get his nap in? All this plays over and over in our heads until we finally settle into our pace (which is slow). There’s nothing like the smooth repetitive movements of hard work to clear the mind. And before you know it, you hear that little snore coming from right over your shoulder.
Cheers | Matt, Agnes & Dusty